First Dates barman Merlin Griffiths, 46, reveals devastating cancer battle

FIRST Dates barman Merlin Griffiths has revealed details of his devastating cancer battle.

The 46-year-old, who is a fan favourite on the Channel 4 dating show, was diagnosed with bowel cancer just six weeks ago.

Doctors have told Merlin he has a 75 per cent chance of living beyond five years, as he faces a year of treatment.

However he has bravely declared: "I won’t let it get the better of me.”

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Merlin said: "The tumour has breached the colon.

“It’s wanting to move into the tissues surrounding it. But importantly, it hasn’t got into the lymph yet, meaning it’s not spread."

In June, Merlin started getting pain in his stomach, which he initially put down to scar tissue caused by a car accident when he was 20.

But doctors discovered a 4.5cm Stage 3 tumour, and while he admits he "shed a tear in private", he is determined to beat the disease.

He said: "I chose to lead my life as normal, to stick to the facts about it, and to keep putting one step in front of the other.”

While Merlin is a private person, he decided to speak out about his cancer battle ahead of his appearance on Stand Up to Cancer Live next month.

Meanwhile, he revealed he told his friends on First Dates – including French maitre d’hotel Fred Sirieix – a week after his diagnosis.

Merlin, who lives with his partner Lucile and his seven-year-old daughter Alix, said: "Fred was lovely and encouraging. He asked me how it has changed my life.

“I told him, ‘You either let it or you don’t. If you let it, it can take you down some pretty dark places’."

But he added: "I want to stack the decks in my favour, which means I’m going to remain broadly positive and resilient.”

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